Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn Cafe

by Roan Poulter, contributing writer
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Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn Café is a counter service restaurant sandwiched between Adventureland and Frontierland at Magic Kingdom. Many a yarn has been spun regarding this particular spot, one which I would like very much to dispel. There is not a salad bar at Pecos Bill. That is a toppings bar for the meals you purchase at the counter. I get the confusion, for it is a rare sight indeed to see food seemingly free for the taking. However, as the plates at this establishment keep shrinking in possible retaliation for the misuse and abuse of this accoutrement oasis, I fear that soon they will be serving burgers atop a thimble.

The atmosphere inside is minimal, with an overall cowboy motif punctuated by a few pictures. The real benefit of eating here is the amount of available seating. Tables fill multiple rooms inside, with outdoor courtyards on both sides and tables with umbrellas beyond that. Even on a busy day, it is usually possible to get a table here without resorting to fisticuffs.


Multitudes of tables mean you shouldn't have to eat standing up. Photo by Roan Poulter.

One complaint I had was that when we tried to order a gluten free hamburger, instead of being polite and helpful as most cast members are, we were handed a tattered book of entrees and their ingredients which read like Japanese stereo instructions. In lieu of doing our own research, much to our future lament, we just ordered my daughter the nachos.

Armed with a sampling of the choices, here's what we thought of each.

Beef fajitas – It seems a rather small portion for the cost. Two small tortillas are served in aluminum foil with just enough beef, rice, and beans to almost fill them. As for calling this steak, that seems a stretch. I'm willing to say it was meat, but when and where it was cooked and how long it lay in a warming tray saddens me. Only the toppings bar, which had fresh Pico de Gallo and pickled jalapenos made it acceptable.


Beef fajitas are served with a side of rice and beans. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Chicken fajitas – The chicken was flavorful and moist, seemingly better suited for the journey from the central kitchen, though still scant in quantity for filling two tortillas.


A plate of chicken fajitas with added peppers and salsa from the toppings bar. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Hamburger – The hamburger was the best of the bunch, though it was not great. The ability to create your own topping tower helped to cover up the amount of time it took to ship the beef patty from wherever it was sent. The bun was great and the tortilla chips that accompanied it took full advantage of the salsa at the toppings bar.


The hamburger is accompanied by a side of tortilla chips. Photo by Roan Poulter.

Nachos – I assume that this entree is just an off-label taco salad based on how most others utilized theirs. Bowls are so heaped with lettuce, tomatoes and toppings that they leave a trail of garnishes like Hansel and Gretel. We found the meat substance that tops this culinary reprobate to be unacceptable. If a high school cafeteria sloppy joe and a can of chili had a baby, there you go.


A plate of nachos lacking the typical cheese sauce. Photo by Roan Poulter.

I try very hard to find what's right with places instead of what's wrong, but Pecos Bill seems an unremarkable choice. For nearly the same price I would recommend the Skipper Canteen. Truly the only things I can enthusiastically recommend about Pecos Bill Tall Tale Inn Café are the toppings bar and the ample air conditioned seating. To be fair, on a busy day at the Magic Kingdom, those can be enough to tip the scales in their favor.

Our ratings

Dad (41): 2.4 of 5 – The quality of most meats served here ruin what is an appealing and appreciated self service toppings bar. Being able to find a table in the cool air on a hot summer day makes it worth going back and having the burger.

  • Food Quality: 2.0 of 5
  • Value for money spent: 2.5 of 5
  • Ambiance: 3.0 of 5

Mom (41): 2.2 of 5 – Seemed as expensive as much better restaurants within a stone's throw. The chicken fajitas were good if a little bland.

Daughter (17): 1.7 of 5 – Ordering a gluten free bun for a hamburger would have added nearly ten minutes to the wait. Instead she ended up with nachos, which has taken this restaurant off her list.

Son (15): 3.1 of 5 – The bun on the burger was excellent. Being able to add his own toppings ensured he didn't end up with wilted lettuce and a dry burger. He would happily go here again.

 

Comments

  1. By Tony T

    This article should make a comparison of the eatery before the menu change. Pecos Bill was one of our favorite places to grab a counter service meal before the menu change. Yes it was burgers then but with the toppings bar you could really maximize your burger and customize them however you like. You could also add toppings to your fries and make them more than just a side item. We ate here once during our last trip but were not that hungry so the cast member let us order just a side of meat and black beans. It was perfect for us at that moment. You refer to the meat in this article as steak, but that is not what the menu says. The meat you are referring to is barbacoa which is more like roast beef that has been marinated and then slow cooked. It should shred like pulled pork which is exactly what we got when we ordered. So when you refer to it as steak you are not really being correct in the description of what is being served here. With that being said I still prefer the old menu to the new menu but I understand Disney wanting to add more variety and choices to their counter service locations and hopefully over time the quality will improve here.

  2. By DisneyGator

    This was my first place to eat at WDW back on my first trip (2002). I was excited because I grew up on Westerns, and the Pecos Bill cartoon with Roy Rogers singing was one of my favorites. I still remember how exciting it was to add mushrooms and all the other fixens to the burger. It made a plain old theme park burger into an experience. I'm glad it's still all there!

    I do wish DL would have a burger joint with a true fixens bar like they have at WDW.

  3. By worldlover71

    I haven't eaten here recently so I can't speak about the quality of the food. However, I disagree about the atmosphere. I find it a charming Hollywood version of the old west. I especially love how as you walk through, it changes in feel from the desert South-West feel on the Caribbean Plaza side to the folksy, rustic feel in Fronterland. Too bad it seems the food has declined in quality.

  4. By Duane

    Since the recent menu change, my family no longer eats at Pecos Bill. I am curious who the unknowing executive was that decided to remove the well loved food items which made Pecos Bill a popular counter service restaurant in the Magic Kingdom. Obviously, the same executive who ruined Pecos Bill was involved in the menu change at Tortuga Tavern too. When the revenue drops dramatically, someone who does "know" what typical WDW guests enjoy, Pecos Bill will return to the appealing menu. Until then, I suggest avoiding this place.

  5. By stan4d_steph

    What specific items are gone though? Pecos used to basically sell burgers, and they still do have a burger on the menu.

  6. By Dave1313

    Quote Originally Posted by stan4d_steph View Post
    What specific items are gone though? Pecos used to basically sell burgers, and they still do have a burger on the menu.

    Is the taco burger misnamed and it's really just a traditional burger? Menu.

    I need to admit I was puzzled when I read the review and saw the reference to a regular burger. It looks like a standard burger in the picture. Can anyone say what makes it a "taco burger"? Is it just the different type of cheese? I'd be willing to try what I see in the picture of the hamburger. The other items I'm not interested in due to my general dislike of beans.

    At the least the burger in the picture has tortilla chips instead of fries. That's not a deal breaker to me, but for anyone looking for a "burger and fries" type combo, you will not find it here now.

    As to the rest of the menu, I wasn't smart enough to randomly PDF a menu before the announced change, so I can't provide a full "before" menu. If my memory serves (it may not, so please don't all jump at me if I am slightly off), I think you used to be able to order variants such as maybe a cheeseburger with bacon or possibly barbecue sauce included on it?

  7. By stan4d_steph

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave1313 View Post
    At the least the burger in the picture has tortilla chips instead of fries. That's not a deal breaker to me, but for anyone looking for a "burger and fries" type combo, you will not find it here now.

    There are plenty of places to get a burger and fries in the Magic Kingdom. You may just have to walk a little farther to get one now if you are in Frontierland. It's possible the menu changed after the author visited Pecos. You may also be able to get a regular burger without added "stuff" even if it's not explicitly listed on the menu.

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